PROFILE | Jayden Braaf – the latest player to follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Borussia Dortmund last weekend announced the signing of 19-year-old Jayden Braaf on a three-year contract until 2025. A gifted, intelligent footballer born in the Netherlands, Jayden Jezairo Braaf is of Surinamese descent and has played internationally  at under-15, under-17 and under-18 levels.

Valued at €3m by Transfermarkt, the intelligent right-footed 1.79m tall winger, like Jadon Sancho and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens before him, joins BVB from Manchester City U23s. 

Originally with the youth academy of Ajax, he switched to cult club AFC Amsterdam before spending four seasons with the youth academy of PSV Eindhoven.

In 2018 Braaf joined the Manchester City academy. Although he was unable to break through into the first team he played 18 matches for City’s academy team winning the 2020 English Youth FA Cup and Premier League 2 title in the process.  

In his debut campaign at City, Jayden played consistently for the U18s in their league campaign, impressing with his skill and pace on the wing. He also played three times in the FA Youth Cup in the U18s run to the final.

The Manchester City U23 Player of the Season for 2020 scored two impressive goals in the last 16 of the EFL Trophy game against Rochdale was also key in sending the U23s through to the quarter-final in 20/21. 

At the start of the 21/22 season, the young Amsterdam-born versatile left-winger went out on loan to Udinese Calcio. However, he missed out on most of the 21/22 season due to a knee injury, the second of his career following a six-month lay-off for PSV Eindhoven in 18/19, which kept him off out of action between April 21 and May 22. The Dutchman had to settle for four Serie A appearances, scoring one goal.

From an analysis of the player’s past performances, the young Dutchman has great technical ability and can easily get past his man with a clever piece of skill, but he also has the awareness to know when to pass. 

Among the qualities, he is admired for are good vision and skill and pace on the wing. Braaf is a fast, explosive winger with exceptional dribbling skills.

As well as showing a high work rate, he can strike powerful long-range shots including free-kicks although an area for improvement is a lack of presence which can show up in tackling and one-on-ones.

The young winger scored nine goals in 16 matches with Manchester City and his former U23s coach Paul Harsley compared Jayden’s qualities on the ball to Jadon Sancho: “Jayden’s a real handful for opposition full-backs when we can give him the ball and he’s got space to go and run at them. You can see with the goals he has scored and the chances he has created that – whether he goes outside or inside – he gives opposition defences all sorts of problems,” he said via Bundesliga.com.

Braaf will be linking up with former PSV striker Donyell Malen at BVB and will be competing with Belgian Thorgan Hazard for the position on the left-wing although he can also play on the right wing. 

Speaking to Ruhrnachrichten, new Dortmund sporting director, and former club captain, Sebastian Kehl welcomed the signing: “Jayden has shown in the past that he can be a quality player with his pace and talent.”

Overall, this is a potentially good signing for BVB who have looked light on the left-wing since losing Jadon Sancho.

Dortmund has a history of developing talent, and despite some possible doubts about the player’s recent injury history and his need to regain match fitness, this signing, the sixth for the first-team of the summer after Niklas Süle, Nico Schlotterbeck, Alexander Meyer, Karim Adeyemi and Salih Özcan would appear to have good potential in an important position on the wing for the ‘Black and Yellows’.  

New coach Edin Terzic is widely reported to have assigned Braaf to initially start with BVB’s U23s, in 3. Liga. 

Borussia Dortmund’s second-string side start their season on July 22nd.

Ben McFadyean

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